California citizen and AoA correspondent David Foster has written an open letter to Senator Liu and the California Education Committee highlighting underhand tactics and hidden dealings at Wednesday's meeting.
We know what you did at the SB277 Education Committee hearing April 16 2015
California Senate Education Committee Members -
It has come to our attention that something profoundly rotten happened this week at the Senate Education Committee hearing on SB277.
We watched with great surprise as the first four Senators asked very pointed questions about SB277 that Dr. Pan did not have any answers to. One Senator even referred to SB277 as "draconian". Then the Chair of the Committee, Senator Liu, asked questions and made comments which gave the impression that she was also not a fan of the bill.
What happened next was something all of you might consider to be politics as usual, but to us constituents this is one of the most deceitful things I have ever seen from a political body...I am 51 years old so believe me that is saying a lot.
Sen. Liu informed Dr. Pan that his bill was not going to make it past the committee, and she suggested that he collect answers to questions posed by the committee so they could hold a closed-session vote the following week. Dr. Pan agreed.
What we all are extremely concerned about is the marked discrepancy between the opinions expressed by the Senators at the hearing -- especially those from Sen. Liu -- and the results of an early poll on SB277 taken on April 14 (two days before the hearing). Surprise surprise, Dr. Liu is apparently in support of the bill, so it is no wonder that she saved it. In the entire Committee there were 3 Yes, 1 leaning Yes, 3 Undecided, and 1 declined to answer.
Now we know what really happened on April 16.
Even though the Committee clearly did not have the numbers to pass SB277, Sen. Liu gave the pretense of having concerns about the Bill, but then gave it a Get Out of Jail card and gave Dr. Pan one week to answer the Committee's questions. The obvious intent here was twofold: (1) delay the vote for one week to accommodate upcoming planned changes to the Committee's membership...one Senator, who was only on the committee temporarily, would be replaced, and a vacancy was to be filled, thus assuring that those in Favor had sufficient numbers to pass the Bill; and (2) be able to hold this vote in private with no opportunity for any constituents or experts to address the answers provided by Dr. Pan.
We find it difficult to understand how you can possibly justify making changes to the membership of a Committee after it has heard testimony on a critically important piece of legislation, and then vote on that legislation with new members who were not even there to hear testimony or ask questions. But what is especially hard to fathom, Sen. Liu, is how you can be so incredibly disingenuous during the hearing, and then ignore the very real and appropriate concerns raised by your own members when you vote next week.
This charade is an egregious abrogation of your responsibilities as Senators to represent the interests of your constituents and respect the legislative process we have come to expect here in America.
Shame on all of you taking part in this, and especially shame on you Senator Liu.
If your reformulated Committee really does pass SB277 next week, then it will have become painfully obvious that this was a purely political decision which ignored all of the relevant and crucial questions raised by your own Members this week. You have no business even being on the Education Committee since you are clearly not acting in the best interest of California's educational system.
I promise you that I will make it my life's purpose to see to it that every Senator who votes Yes on this bill gets voted out of office.